Winterville City Council Appoints New Member | Local news


WINTERVILLE – A vacant position created when Ricky Hines was elected mayor in November has been filled by the finalist in the city council election.

Paul Rice will take over Hines’ unexpired tenure, in keeping with city policy of nominating the candidate who received the most votes without securing a seat on the board.

In the November 2 poll, voters were ordered to vote for two candidates for two seats on the board. Outgoing council members Johnny Moye and Mark Smith, the acting mayor, received the most votes with 649 and 459 respectively.

Rice got 364 votes, narrowly beating Shantel Hawkins for the vacancy by 24 ballots.

Rice is a Vietnam War veteran who grew up in Craven County and has resided in Winterville for 14 years. He is the father of four grown children and retired from retail after working for 30 years in the appliance and electronics industry.

Rice was involved with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, but last November he was running for elected office for the first time.

When asked what prompted him to run for a board seat, Rice replied, “I’m 72 years old. I really hadn’t planned on getting involved in anything. I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and he said, “I would never show up for anything. But, I couldn’t help myself. I feel like I don’t like what’s going on in this country and I feel like everyone needs to be involved whether they like it or not.

“We have to fight for what we think is right,” he said. “I just want to be the voice of reason and offer my thoughts to the community and to city council.

“I am a golfer. I prefer to play golf, ”Rice said. “But having served in the military, I am truly a patriot of the United States and I really want the best for my kids, my neighbors and everyone. I did not see anyone else intervene.

Rice said he was excited to be working with the rest of the board.

“I love them all. It’s a good bunch of people,” he said. “I feel like they know I’ll be there to support them.

Rice has described himself as a Catholic conservative who expresses his beliefs but welcomes opposing views.

“I express my conservative views with everyone and I also listen to what they have to say,” he said. “It’s interesting. I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there and it’s good to talk to other people and get their thoughts.

One specific issue on the new councilman’s radar is the city’s next planned housing development at the intersection of Reddy Branch Road and Davenport Farm Road.

“We all want something that Winterville can be proud of, something of good quality, without creating massive traffic congestion,” he said. “We want to make sure the public gets value for their money when they invest in a home in this area. “

Rice will be re-elected in 2023, along with Councilor Tony Moore and Councilor Veronica Roberson.

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